Muir delivers Ministerial action to save Cairn Wood

Alliance Councillor Andrew Muir has expressed his delight after the Regional Development Minister bowed to public pressure, suspending sale of a local reservoir and surrounding land.

North Down Councillor Andrew Muir said Michelle McIlveen had acted in the best interests of local people, after she announced today (Tuesday) the sale of Ballysallagh Upper reservoir and adjacent land at Cairn Wood forest had been put on hold.

In comes in the wake of a campaign run by Councillor Muir to save the area from sale. A public petition set up by him, which was handed to the Minister last week, has almost 3,000 signatures to date.

Earlier today, Councillor Muir and Alliance colleague Chris Lyttle MLA met Minister McIlveen, again impressing the importance of a prompt intervention. He said he was delighted a few hours later the sale has been halted.

“At the beginning of this campaign, those who wanted to prevent the sale of Cairn Wood Forest and the surrounding land said we would not just stand by and allow it to take place. I am delighted the Minister has listened, taken onboard the views of the thousands of people who signed the petition and made this decision, despite her initially informing us she could do nothing about the issue. “Whilst disappointed it took such a vigorous campaign, nearly 3,000 signatures for my petition and sustained lobbying from many people, I am glad to see people power deliver, albeit at the eleventh hour just before I was to bring a motion to Ards and North Down Borough Council seeking support for Councillors to intervene and stop the sale

“Despite this move, the campaign is not over. We need the option of a sale to the highest bidder to be permanently removed, full details on proposed transfer to Forest Service and the area kept in its natural tranquil state.”

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